The Burden

As a Jew, I feel the weight, ancient and familiar,
of nameless generations slaughtered
by Egyptians, by Babylonians, by Romans.
The tongue wails, the mind reels, the eyes weep
Where were you God, when we were
burned by Spaniards, shot by Russians, gassed by Germans?
Did you hide yourself in Heaven, deaf to our voices?
Is this what your Covenant desired?
Belief crumbles in your absence.

As an American, I feel the burden, novel and disorienting,
of countless fellow citizens executed
by pistols, by semiautomatics, by assault rifles.
The heart pounds, the hands clench, the knees tremble
Where were you Politicians, when we lost
children in school, blacks in church, gays in their nightclub,
Sikhs in prayer, students on campus, ordinary people in the theater?
Did you lock yourself in Washington, dead to our votes?
Is this what your Constitution intended?
Democracy shatters with your inaction.

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